Blue Jays: Only choice is to respect the Halladay family’s decision

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 29: Manager John Gibbons #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays greets Brandi Halladay, the widow of former Blue Jays Roy Halladay, and his two sons in a ceremony on Opening Day during MLB game action against the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre on March 29, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 29: Manager John Gibbons #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays greets Brandi Halladay, the widow of former Blue Jays Roy Halladay, and his two sons in a ceremony on Opening Day during MLB game action against the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre on March 29, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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While some Blue Jays fans are understandably upset that Roy Halladay will wear a logo-less hat on his Hall of Fame plaque, we must respect his family’s wishes and that’s all there is to it.

Tuesday’s announcement that Roy Halladay would be inducted into the Hall of Fame was a celebration for the late player’s career, for the family he left behind, and for the many fans that remember and adore his great baseball legacy.

It’s about all of those things and more, but what we learned on Wednesday was that it’s not about the Toronto Blue Jays or the Philadelphia Phillies, and that’s okay.

After the announcement of Halladay’s induction, the Blue Jay faithful was understandably thrilled that they would have a second repsentative in the Hall, and someone to join Roberto Alomar by wearing a Blue Jays hat on his plaque. However, we learned on Wednesday that a lot of us were getting ahead of ourselves, and that Halladay will wear a logo-less hat after all.

Because of his tragic passing in November of 2017, the two-time Cy Young award winner is no longer able to make the decision himself, and his wife and sons made the announcement on Wednesday that they would not choose a logo for his cap, but rather they wanted to see him represented as a “Major League Baseball Player”. Here’s the full quote from his wife Brandy, who spoke with Arash Mandani of Sportsnet:

"“We think — and we talked about this — that this is the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s not the Phillies Hall of Fame, it’s not the Blue Jays Hall of Fame. Roy is going in as a major league baseball player, and I think that’s important and that’s what he is. And I hope that he represents something to all of baseball, not just the Phillie fans or the Blue Jays fans, but to baseball as a whole. And that’s how I think he should be represented.”"

I’ll admit it, my first reaction was disappointment and even a little bit of frustration, and I know I’m not alone. However, it didn’t take me long to remember that his family has had to go through some pretty unimaginable grief in the last 15 months, and while the logo on a hat might be important to many of us, it’s not very important in the grand scheme of things. That’s not to say that the Halladay family doesn’t care or doesn’t understand the significance, it’s just that compared to what they’ve dealt with it really doesn’t matter at all.

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The fact is, Brandy and her children would know and understand Roy’s wishes better than anyone, and we all have to respect that. There are some folks that point to his interview with Stephen Brunt from a few years ago when he said he’ll always be a Blue Jay, and it did sound like he had definitively answered the question. However, a lot could have changed between the time of that interview and his untimely death, and we’re not privy to the way he was thinking as he enjoyed his far too brief retirement.

It’s possible that Halladay had ultimately decided that he wanted to honour both teams with a decision like this. He was a man of well-noted class, and it’s conceivable that he appreciated his tenure enough in Philadelphia that he didn’t want that franchise to be slighted with a decision like this. That wouldn’t surprise me at all given what I know about his character.

It’s also conceivable if Halladay were still alive today that he might not agree with the family’s decision either. However, even that scenario doesn’t matter, as this whole thing is really about two things at this point. One, it’s always about honouring the career of one of the greatest baseball player’s of all-time, and that’s what has happened with Halladay’s first ballot selection.

Secondly though, and it’s fairly unique to Halladay’s young family left behind, it’s about making sure that Halladay is honoured, and that his family is honoured. They’re the ones that have to stand in the limelight and talk about their husband and father who is no longer with us. They’re the ones that have to respond to media requests, stand in front of cameras, and answer questions that likely keep a pretty fresh wound at the forefront of their minds. They’re the ones that have to deal with all of this.

Sure, you could argue that the whole Hall of Fame ordeal is an honour and a privilege for the Halladay family, and I’m sure they’d all agree. But don’t think for a moment that this whole process hasn’t been trying on them, and that it’ll be a relief for each of them when this storyline quiets down after Halladay’s induction in July. I talked about it a week ago and I stand by it, that I believe that while they have to be thrilled that Roy’s career and life are being honoured this way, that it can’t be easy standing in the public eye, especially when it’s only been 15 months since his passing.

So when a topic as insignificant as a logo on a hat starts becoming a debate point, I think we all need to take a step back and ask ourselves what’s really important. You saw many notable Blue Jay writers and analysts doing just that yesterday, and I hope all fans did the same once they stopped to think about it. As I said above, my initial reaction was disappointment and frustration, but it quickly turned to the same sadness and heartache I’ve felt from losing one of my heroes, and I can’t imagine how much worse it must be for his wife and children.

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At the end of the day, the Hall of Fame has the final say and it looks like they’re going to respect the family’s wishes, just as all need to, and that’s all there is to it.

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